In an effort to move along stalled port renovations, the Skagway Assembly wants to re-open negotiations with the company that controls much of its waterfront.
In 2015, voters rejected the extension of a tidelands lease with White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, putting port improvements in limbo. The current lease is up in 2023. But a cruise industry group says changes need to be made in the next few years.
The Cruise Lines International Association, also known as CLIA, sent a letter to the municipality. It urges them to make the improvements needed to accommodate larger vessels at the city’s ore dock.
In the letter, the organization says Skagway’s existing dock facilities won’t be able to welcome larger ships that have proposed port calls in 2019.
At a meeting last week, the assembly voted unanimously to send a letter to White Pass president John Finlayson, asking to work together to make necessary waterfront improvements.
“This is basically, ‘hey Skagway, let’s get your stuff together,” said Assemblyman Tim Cochran. “We’ve got to do something and we’ve got to do something now.”
“We’re in imminent danger I think,” said Mayor Mark Schaefer.
Schaefer hopes to schedule a meeting with White Pass before June 15. The assembly also wants to review the railroad’s plans for the waterfront after the lease expires.
Schaefer also invited CLIA to collaborate with the municipality during the design of new dock facilities.
In an interview Monday, Finlayson said White Pass hasn’t responded to the city yet. But they are excited about the prospect of working together. He says Skagway is stronger when White Pass and the municipality collaborate.